Saint Louis never wavered, though, even after Jordair Jett limped to the locker room late in the half, and despite playing without top scorer Kwamain Mitchell due to a broken foot.
McCall hit a long 3-pointer late in the half, and another triple by Jake Barnett — one of three he had on the night — helped get the Billikens within 39-25 at the break.
Releford was 6 of 11 from the field in the first half; Saint Louis was 6 of 23.
The Billikens also committed 10 turnovers, but despite their sloppiness on offense and their inability to slow down the Jayhawks on defense, they still were within striking distance.
McCall's 3-pointer out of halftime closed the gap to 11, but Withey converted a three-point play off a nifty feed from Kevin Young, and McLemore followed up a 3-pointer with a scooping layup, allowing the Jayhawks to restore a 47-30 cushion with about 17 minutes left in the game.
That's just about when Ellis started to heat up.
His basket with 14:25 left got the Billikens within 50-36, and he converted a three-point play with under 10 to go that made it 57-45. The senior forward from Perth, Australia, then hit back-to-back 3-pointers a couple minutes later to trim the deficit to 10 points.
Kansas kept trying to deliver the knockout blow, and the Billikens kept dodging it.
McCall answered a basket by Releford that threatened to raise the roof at the Sprint Center, which was filled with a pro-Kansas crowd, and then Ellis knocked down another off-balance 3-pointer from the wing to get Saint Louis within 65-56 with just under 4 minutes left in the game.
Withey converted a three-point play, though, and after Ellis misfired from long range, the Jayhawks' 7-footer dunked at the other end to make it 70-56 and effectively put the game away.
"Our two leading scorers are probably our two best defenders, too," Self said, "and I really think if you don't worry about scoring, scoring naturally comes, and that's what happened."